I tend to have a harder time with first entries.  It probably has something to do with the pressure of life's firsts being memorable experiences.  When I think about my firsts, I think about anxiety and anticipation leading up to an event that's usually underwhelming, disappointing, or sometimes even unenjoyable.  This is far from a first entry though, even if it happens to be the first one on a website that shares my name.  The work of mine you'll find here isn't supposed to be remarkable.  It isn't going to suck, either.  But the idea of showcasing my best work, and only my best work, under the spotlight of my personal website is a concept I'm trying to move away from here.  My work and I will be better and worse, sick and healthy.  I'm fluid and my work reflects that.  The stuff you see will probably be better than it was a decade ago because I've been doing this a long time and I've gotten better at articulating my feelings and experiences.  But the authenticity of the life I've reported on hasn't fluctuated.  In fact, things are probably less remarkable about my life now, at least on this particular day in time.  I have more to appreciate though, more to be grateful for, more to say good things about.  Which brings me to my first address, fittingly.  Welcome.

I've had this site up for a week now.  I pulled one all-nighter last Sunday to try to have the site ready for my Leap Day soft launch, and by the morning when I had to go to class it still wasn't done.  It went live at 11:52 pm, Mountain Standard Time, on February 29, 2016.  Made it by the skin of my teeth (and it was already the 1st in Toronto, and the 2nd in Australia, so by that measure I failed - but it's okay) and thanks to Squarespace, it looks a lot better than I would've expected.  I'm continuing to make changes as I go.  But I had to start somewhere, and overall I'm pleased with my first push.  So thank you for being here.

It feels really good to work hard in pursuit of your own motivations.  I haven't felt like that in a long time.  I talk about fulfillment, and the state of my soul in a lot of the pages hidden in this website's framework.  It won't take long for you to pick up on a theme.  I like to call it transformation.  I'm in a highly pivotal stage of my life.  So much, that it permeates into every corner of my creative work, professional development, relationships, wellness pursuits, and my short- and long-term plans.  Which makes me very excited to be launching my website right now, because there really is no better time.  My growth in the last five years has been exponential, and that rate will only continue in the next five to ten.  I invite you to join me on that journey to discover the kind of Mary that's hiding deep inside me as well as the Mary I'll be transforming into entirely, from the ground up.  This is as much of an exploration for me as it is for you, and I'm so excited for what's to come.

Not all of my entries will be long, formal, detailed, or reflective.  As a nonfiction writer I'm striving to translate my experiences into different forms of varying depth.   I realize that the way I feel something isn't necessarily the way you see it - and on the contrary, it's rarely so.  I'd rather accumulate a large body of work that shows growth and flexibility than a light, thin manila folder skimmed of real substance to show only my "best".  I found myself resorting to the latter over the years, which I've come to regret deeply.  Now, I'm striving to recognize purpose and meaning in the everyday, the uneventful, the plain existence of my life and work.  Moreover, when things are the opposite of well, I'm trying to stay present and in the moment.  To understand that today's struggles don't negate yesterday's progress, or invalidate tomorrow's potential.  Every feeling, every idea, every line, every story counts.  So that's what you'll get here, all of it.  Take what you need.  Leave what you don't.  Unlike many others, I always found that set of rules pretty easy to follow, so it goes here, with everything.

I don't need this to sound cliched or businesslike as my first entry so I'm going to share part of a poem I wrote this weekend, while in the midst of a 4 am, insomniac high.  These have been frequent for me lately, but I'm not complaining.  I've learned to appreciate the ride.  Still untitled, and you might stumble upon the full version at a later date.  Hope you enjoy.

Self-love was a lecture
In the name of female dignity

And respecting you
Little did I know
That I would need to love myself
Not to protect your ego
But to survive
Without your love
You said you would love me
You said I could trust you
More than any villain

You gave me reason
To be jaded
In my own safe zone
You held me
I'm safer in the real world
For being me
They tell me they love me
And I believe them
Because your insecurity
Won't scare me
Into living a life
Without love
I deserve everything you wouldn't give me
And I don't have to change to get it
Unless changing means
Being myself
Fighting fear
And challenging
Everything I know
To believe as true
About myself
About you
About the world you said would hurt me

Nothing and no one would ever hurt me
Like you
But I won't protect you anymore